Epic Road Trip, Part I

SMS and I have done a lot of traveling this Summer.  It’s been awesome!  We’ve seen so many cool, beautiful places and we travel so well together.  It’s been an amazing newlywed Summer and I definitely feel very bittersweet about leaving San Diego.  But as I told SMS last night on the old Banker Hill apartment rooftop (my front door code still works!), I’m definitely going to be sad and miss him but I’m so glad I have him to miss!

So, yesterday marked our return to San Diego after an epic California road trip.  SMS had two weeks off from school after a crazy busy, successful Summer term and I was done with my job ages ago (ha, ha).  I checked out from the command on the 14th and on the 16th, we were off.

We got a slightly late start due to an id card appointment and last-minute errands at work.  By 1 o’clock, we were on the road to Morro Bay.  We hit some LA traffic but missed the worst of rush hour (I think).  We stopped in beautiful Santa Barbara for dinner at La Super-Rica Taqueria, which was delicious although the portions were smaller than I thought.  Never fear, the delicious cheesiness of our dishes were very sating.  I also loved stopping in Santa Barbara since I have a soft spot for the town.

From CW starting left: 1. SMS sets up his tripod 2. Underwater exploration vehicle dry-docked in MB 3. The Rock!

That night, we spent the night with 30 of our new closest friends at the Morro Bay State Beach.  SMS noted that, “I’ve been to many campsites and this is certainly the friendliest one I’ve ever been to.”  He was referring not to the people themselves, but the fact that the campground was essentially a parking lot with tents pitched behind the car.  Our next-door neighbors were only six feet away.  Awkward when peeing at night, that’s for sure!  (Kidding.  There were bathroom facilities that were actually quite clean and nice.  Although, when camping, clean = nice).

The next morning, we woke up and headed to Frankie & Lola’s Front St Cafe for a little breakfast.  It was a cute place with delicious food!  We got the French Toast Brûlée, soufflé, flambé and the corned beef hash with poached eggs.  So good!  Before breakfast, we got a few pictures of the Rock, which was good since the fog rolled in during breakfast and completely obscured it.  Gooooooo, good timing!

Random spots in Big Sur.  Bottom left is Julia Pfieffer Burns SP with the waterfall on the beach

We hit the road and drove up the Coast through Big Sur.  We stopped at several beautiful places including Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.  SMS took some beautiful pictures and we stopped at the Big Sur Bakery for lunch after trying Nepenthe, which had a CRAZY line.  I turned it into a brunch and got the breakfast pizza (delicious!) and SMS got a fish special that was pretty good.

CW from top left: Cannery building, kelp forest, jellyfish lab, jellyfish!!!

Speaking of fish, we then headed up to Monterey to see the aquarium.  A childhood friend of mine from Rota, Spain lives there now and works at the aquarium.  Our tickets were comped and we toured the place.  The highlights for me were the jellyfish, sea horses and the kelp forest.  I could probably think of even more but I’ll try and keep my favorites manageable!  Cat and Joe met us at 5 and we got a brief behind the scenes tour of the rooftop area where the kelp forest receives its sun and wave motion.  The rescue seal tanks are also on the roof.  We also went behind the scenes of the jellyfish exhibit and saw tanks and tanks of jellyfish.  Some were destined for display while others were destined to be the dinner of the other jellyfish.  Creepy!

We went to Lopez Restaurante Y Cantina, which was pretty delicious.  I had a molé dish that was awesome.   It was so much fun to catch up with Cat and meet Joe.  I feel very lucky to have rekindled a friendship from so long ago!

SMS and I left Monterey and headed to Big Basin Redwood SP for another night of camping.  The stars were amazing and this was real camping in real woods!  The next morning, we woke up and walked the .6 mile Redwood trail that hit a lot of the park’s Redwood highlights, including the oldest and largest trees.  How courteous that all the highlights are in such close proximity!  We stopped by the gift shop where Mark advised me not to actually buy the coonskin hat I modeled.  Sad, but definitely the wise fashion choice.

Not a good look

To be continued!

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